Train yourself for a holy life. 1 Timothy 4:7b

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

May the grace and peace of Jesus be yours now and forever.
In the rural Midwest where I grew up, bread came in one form: a square or rectangular loaf. Every now and then, a round loaf found its way onto the grocer’s shelf. Like a gas, yeast dough will take whatever form it’s placed in. Recently, I purchased some brotforms to make round bread. These simple baskets are made from willow canes and leave gorgeous floury rings on the loaf.
Our spiritual lives are like yeast dough. They emulate the form they are put in. In writing to the younger minister, Timothy, Paul encouraged him to train himself for the holy life. Wesley commented, “Like those who were to contend in the Grecian games, exercise thyself unto godliness—Train thyself up in holiness of heart and life, with the utmost labour, vigour, and diligence.” Both Paul and Wesley understood that holy life required formation. Holy people train to be holy, just as athletes train for their sport.
How’s your training going?
Beginning in September, First Church will explore during worship and in small group settings the six major areas of discipline in the life of Jesus Christ: prayer, virtue, Spirit, compassion, Word of God, and incarnation/sacrament. The goal will be threefold: balance, knowledge and support/accountability. In balance, we will employ all six disciplines for a well-balanced spiritual life. In knowledge, we will learn the basics of the traditions so we can grow closer to God. And we will support and hold each other accountable in living these six disciplines.
Join us for a memorable September and October. Let’s get training!

Rev. Joseph A. Johnson